Recognising Good Firewood
Establishing which wood is best for your wood burning stove can be a difficult task for a novice, so we have tried to provide a short introduction into the fundamentals of collecting your own wood, the appropriate wood to burn in your stove, and the difference between hardwoods and softwoods.
Hardwood or Softwood
When it comes to purchasing wood for your domestic fire, it can become a slightly daunting task as there are so many different types and all with their own burn qualities. Hardwood is considered better to burn in your wood burning stove over softwood as it burns at a slower and longer rate than softwoods. Hardwoods, to name a few, such as oak, walnut, teak, apple, maple, and beach are considered to be some of the best for your domestic fire, burning slowly and for longer; making them far more effective for those cold winter evenings.
Softwoods including cedar, fir, pine, juniper, redwood, yew, and spruce create shorter burning, more intense flames. Softwood has half of the density of hardwood, causing it to burn twice as fast, which could require you to purchase twice the amount of wood than when using hardwood.
It is not recommended you burn construction timber, painted, manufactured board products or pallet wood. These can release harmful fumes and may also damage your appliance.
When identifying which wood you should purchase for your wood burning stove, you should make sure that you can see the certified Woodsure Ready To Burn label. This certification means the wood you are buying has a low moisture content, so you can be sure that the logs that you are burning are right for your stove. It is advised that you check your product instructions when calculating the size of the required wood.
Collecting your own firewood
When collecting your own firewood, you should leave it to dry for a minimum of 12-18 months before using it, this is to ensure that there is little-to-no moisture lingering inside the logs.
When drying wet logs, split the wood into smaller sized pieces and leave the logs in a suitable wood store to hasten the drying process and to maintain dryness. This can be helped by placing something over the top of the wood store to make sure no moisture seeps in. It is recommended that you keep either side of the wood store open to promote air flow and accelerate the drying process. It is not recommended that you store wood against your house and or any buildings as this can slow down the drying process by preventing air circulation.
Once you have stored your logs for the appropriate amount of time, you will need to check the wood before attempting to burn them. To check well seasoned wood, you can simply check either ends of the logs. If they are dark in colour and cracked, the wood is dry and able to be used. Another way you can tell wood is ready to be used, is if the wood is lighter in weight and creates a hollow clink sounds when two pieces are knocked together.
If you have found there is any green colour, visible mould, or the bark is hard to peel, the wood is not yet dried and should not be used in your wood burner. If in doubt about the drying process of your wood, you can purchase a wood moisture meter, these can help you estimate and see when your logs are ready.
When taking your moisture reading, you will need to take a selection of logs from your wood pile and split them, you can then take a moisture reading from inside the wood. If your moisture reading shows that your log has a content of 20% or below, then wood is well seasoned and ready to be used in your wood burner.